Nightclub review: Diverse concert at Neumo's Thursday night mixes rap, bluegrass and gospel music to a satisfied, sold-out crowd.

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The big question about the local rap group’s “Tobacco Road” CD-release party last night was whether or not the bluegrass/rock/rap idea would work out. It was all MC RA Scion’s idea to book an extra-diverse show, and in the end, Neumo’s was sold out, satisfied, and confident they’d witness a unique thing. The bluegrass (The Tall Boys) wasn’t shoved down anybody’s throat — the band played off stage by the merch table, their music for ambiance; the rock (Feral Children; Thee Emergency) could’ve been mixed better but was energetic, and Common Market looked absolutely dominant with the Total Experience Gospel Choir behind them on risers.

Before the show, I talked to lots of Seattle hip-hop “insiders” (producers, artists that have worked with Common Market or just know them) that were worried about the weirdness of the band selection (bluegrass?).

But after Feral Children soldiered through their tribal shriek fest (if “white guys you might see on Capitol Hill” is a tribe) and Thee Emergency was on stage, Common Market manager Dave Meinert asked me “How do you think it’s going?” and he wasn’t really asking. It was clearly a success. The audience was sweaty and wide-eyed, tracking RA Scion as he loped around the stage (it’s not huge, but he seemed to be jogging) and raising their hands whenever he raised his. Not to say Common Market DJ/producer Sabzi was a silent partner, but my feeling about last night is RA Scion should feel pretty good about himself right now.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff

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Sept. 11: Metallica set for KeyArena show on Dec. 1

Metallica is coming to the KeyArena Monday, Dec. 1. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, for $59.50 and $79.50 at www.LiveNation.com, ticketmaster.com/”>www.Ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

Also on the lineup is Lamb of God and The Sword.

Metallica’s most-recent album, “Death Magnetic,” was widely circulating online after a French store sold the record early by mistake. In the past, Metallica has been very vocal against illegal downloading and even sued Napster, but this time they are OK with it. They have been quoted saying it has been a victory of sorts that the album didn’t leak until a full 10 days out.

“Death Magnetic” will be released tomorrow, Sept. 12. It’s their first studio album in five years. Critics are saying it’s the Los Angeles metal band’s return back to their roots. To hear excerpts from the album, go to — www.myspace.com/metallica.

Coming up sooner is a free show by Erik Schrody, aka Everlast. The Irish-American rapper from House of Pain (best known for the mid-90s hit “Jump Around”), is part of the new EndFest ’08 Unplugged lineup, performing at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at the EMP Sky Church, on 330 Sixth Ave. N., in Seattle Center. (Scroll down for more on Saturday’s revamped EndFest.)

He recently released a remake of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” but with a hip-hop twist. His fifth solo album “Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford,” comes out Sept. 23. It will be about love and war. To hear the album, go to www.myspace.com/theofficialeverlast.

Sept. 9: EndFest 17 is off, but “Unplugged” is on

Patrick MacDonald, with some EndFest news:

EndFest 17, originally set for Saturday at Marymoor Park, has been canceled.

It’s been replaced by EndFest ’08 Unplugged at 8 p.m. Saturday at Sky Church in Experience Music Project, Seattle Center. The acoustic event is free, but tickets must be obtained through KNDD-FM/The End’s Web site, www.1077theend.com.

Playing unplugged will be The Presidents of the United States of America, Bad Religion, Everlast, the Ting Tings and Airborne Toxic Event.

Bad Religion, a band from the EndFest lineup, will play a plugged-in, all-ages show (bar with ID) at 9 p.m. Saturday at El Corazon nightclub at 109 Eastlake Ave. E., Seattle. The Hollowpoints and On the Last Day are also on that bill; $23.50-$25 (800-992-TIXX or www.ticketswest.com).

Patrick MacDonald, Seattle Times music critic

Sept. 9: Crocodile Cafe to reopen in early 2009

Here’s a dispatch from staffer Andrew Matson:

The Croc lives!

“Right now it still looks like it looked last time you or anyone else was in it,” says Kerri Harrop, spokeswoman for the Crocodile Café, Seattle’s best and most-famous rock club. The Croc’s “abrupt close last year left a lot of people reeling,” Harrop says, and the plan is to reopen in “late January/early February.”

What’s going on between now and then?

Construction.” When that’s done, “I anticipate capacity will be around the 400 mark.”

There will be two businesses in the building and two entrances. According to Harrop, Via Tribunali will sell pizza “where the back bar was,” and that the wall separating the concert area from the cafe area will be knocked out. She won’t specify exactly how the Crocodile will bleed into Via Tribunali.

Last month, The Seattle Times reported that area bar owner Marcus Charles had obtained the Croc’s liquor license (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2008091508_webcroc05.html). Says Harrop, “Marcus Charles has assembled a good group of investors that includes Susan Silver, Peggy Curtis, and Sean Kinney.”

As for who will book the music, Harrop confirms no more than “a human being.”

Former Croc and current Chop Suey booker Pete Greenberg said he’s not been asked to book the club, and Steven Severin, who books and runs Neumo’s, said, “you can write that I don’t know what the hell is going on.”

Perhaps most important, “Jim Anderson will still be running the sound,” says Harrop. In the past, he made the Croc Seattle’s best-sounding rock venue. “All efforts are being made to make sure the room sounds and looks perfect,” says Harrop.

There are new Croc photos online, on artist David Choe’s Flickr profile, here — http://www.flickr.com/photos/invisiblehour/page6.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

Sept. 9: Big Tune beat battle

This Friday, Seattle producers will be battling it out for the best at the Red Bull Big Tune contest. It’s the sixth stop out of eight regional competitions seeking the most talented American producer.

Interested producers are asked to apply at www.redbullbigtune.com. Winners get custom studio equipment and a chance to collaborator with their choice of recording artist at the Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica.

The competition starts 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at Neumo’s, 925 E. Pike St., in Seattle. RSVP and watch videos from last year on www.redbullbigtune.com as well.

Seattle is well represented in the contest. Sabzi from the Blue Scholars was the winner last year. In fact, the contest was founded by Seattleites — producers Vitamin D and Jonathan Moore, the head of the artists management company Council Management, LLC. Also, Seattle producer Jake One (co-owner of the War Room) Marcus Lalario and Seattle DJ DV One have joined in to help with the program, outreach and sound.

In addition to the competition, there are events all week:

Today

• Producer workshop with Jake One and Vitamin D: 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, Vera Project, 305 Harris St., Seattle; free and all-ages

• Red Bull Big Tune Film Premiere, with screening and live performance by Brainstorm of Dyme Def, with special guest DJ DV-One: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., Seattle; 21+; $5 cover

Wednesday

Educational Outreach and Youth Workshop in partnership with “Aim for Peace” youth program: 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, Buttermilk Studios, 1108 13th Ave., Seattle; free and all-ages

Thursday

• Red Bull Big Tune In-Store, featuring Black Milk and Elzhi: 4-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, GOODS, 1112 Pike St., Seattle; free and all-ages

Sept. 8: Patton Oswalt gets boos … for Obama

Here’s a dispatch from staffer Andrew Matson:

Comedian Patton Oswalt did a stand-up show Saturday at the Moore Theatre. The movie star and voice-over actor (you know him as Remy from “Ratatouille”) made fun of himself and lots of other things, and he was funny: Save for Oswalt’s voice, the theater was silent between peals of laughter.

Weirdly, one guy in the center of the first floor seats stood up during a joke about President Bush (Oswalt compared Bush supporters to fans of the rock band Creed) and heckled not Oswalt, but Barack Obama. “Boo Obama!” he shouted, and was immediately pushed into the aisle by his female companion, who dragged him by his shirt out into the lobby and, presumably, off the premises.

Sept. 8: Tour of Gymnastic Superstars coming to T-Dome

This moved on the AP entertainment wire today:

Shawn Johnson and several other gymnasts from the U.S. Olympic team will be touring the country this fall. Fresh off her gold- and silver-medal-winning performances in Beijing, Johnson, 16, will taking the semester off rather than return to Iowa for her junior year, to barnstorm the country with fellow U.S. gymnastics greats and some hot young singers from Disney, including Jordan Pruitt.

The “Tour of Gymnastics Superstars” kicked off Sunday in Reno, Nev., and is set to come to the Tacoma Dome on at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27. (Tickets, $29.50-$79.50, are on sale now — more details are at www.tacomadome.org).

“It’s not so serious,” Johnson said of performing without the Olympic-style stress. “We’re still working out and staying in shape and working on our skills but we’re able to just do it without so much focus and stuff. We’re just having fun.”

The 37-city tour (appearing on a MyNetworkTV special on Sept. 26) is part elite athletics, part dazzle, complete with a Chinese dragon and group routines by Shawn and fellow medalists Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel and Jonathan Horton. The Hamm twins Morgan and Paul, both of whom had to sit out the Olympics due to injuries, will also perform.

The routines, some choreographed to songs from the “Disney Girlz Rock 2 CD,” will include live performances from Pruitt and KSM, the up-and-comer girl rockers who recorded the tour’s theme song, “Hero in You,” and will release their debut album next year.

Find more information on the tour here — www.gymnasticssuperstars.com.

Sept. 8: Comic Dave Attell to play the Moore; Kathy Griffin adds fourth show to Paramount gig

Lots of shows to announce today:

• Caustic comedian Dave Attell is coming to The Moore Theatre on Oct. 24. Named one of the 25 Funniest People in America by Entertainment Weekly, Attell has written for “Saturday Night Live,” was a regular on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” as The Ugly American, and has appeared on the “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.”Tickets are $27.50 and $32.50. They go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at LiveNation.com and all Ticketmaster outlets; charge by phone at 206-628-0888.

• Known for her brand of pain twinged pop-rock, Alanis Morissette is planning to play at The Paramount Nov. 5. She released her first studio album in four years, “Flavors of Entanglement,” this past June.

Tickets: $36.50 to $62, on sale 10 a.m. Sept. 13 at LiveNation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone, 206-628-0888.

• OneRepublic will be performing at the Paramount Nov. 11. Also on the bill: Augustana, The Spill Canvas and The Hush Sound.

OneRepublic is best known for their addictive single “Apologize” which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 Recurrent Airplay Chart. The pop-rock band’s lead vocalist, Ryan Tedder, has also worked with “American Idol” finalist and Bothell native Blake Lewis.

Tickets are $30 and available at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 (www.LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster outlets and 206-628-0888).

• Kathy Griffin keeps reeling them in. A fourth and final show has been added to her Seattle schedule, at 10 p.m. Nov. 22, following her shows at 7 p.m. Nov. 20, 21 and 22. Tickets: $45.50 to $75.50, and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at www.LiveNation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, and 206-628-0888.

Sept. 5: Broadway director Rob Ashford has “fresh eyes” for “Shrek” in Seattle

Here’s a “Shrek”-related brief from Misha Berson:

According to a story on the Playbill.com theater Web site, the show “Shrek the Musical,” currently in previews here at the 5th Avenue Theatre in a pre-Broadway run, has called in a Tony Award-winning director and choreographer to give feedback and support to the musical’s creative team.

The show’s producers affirmed in a press statement that Rob Ashford, who won a Tony for choreographing the tuner “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” is in Seattle at the invitation of “Shrek” director Jason Moore to “provide a fresh set of eyes on the musical staging.”

The creative teams of musical productions aimed at Broadway often invite assistance from outside theater professionals, though it is unusual to announce it in the press.

“Shrek” has its formal premiere at the 5th Avenue Wednesday, Sept. 10. It will move on to Broadway in November, and after previews will officially open on Dec. 14.

Sept. 3: Funny guy Patton Oswalt coming to the Moore

If you missed the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Comedy Show, don’t worry — one of the popular stars from that lineup is back. Patton Oswalt will be bringing his schtick to the Moore Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The comedian has appeared in “Reno 911: Miami,” “Starsky & Hutch” and “Zoolander.” He also voiced Remy the rat in “Ratatouille,” and was a mainstay as Spencer on the sitcom “King of Queens.”

Tickets are $23 on www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, go to — www.themoore.com/artists/?artist=841.

Also coming to the Moore: The Decemberists, who just announced their 2008 tour. They’ll be at the Moore Theatre on Nov. 30. A limited number of presale tickets are available at www.decemberists.tickets.musictoday.com. General tickets go on sale Saturday, Sept 13.

They will be playing music from their upcoming material, “Always The Bridesmaid: A Singles Series,” which will be released this fall. Volume I is out Oct. 14, with Volumes II and III following on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, respectively.

The series will be released digitally at DSPs on Capitol Records, with a 12-inch vinyl on the Decemberists’ own label, Y.A.B.B. Records/Jealous Butcher Records.

For more information, go to — www.decemberists.com.

Sept. 3: Cornish College names new music chairman

Cornish College of the Arts announced that Kent Devereaux has been appointed the new chair of the music department.

Previously, the composer and stage director served as vice president and dean at Kaplan University, as well as the senior vice president in charge of editorial at Encyclopaedia Britannica. Devereaux has also taught at the California Institute of the Arts, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

His appointment coincides with the development of a new performing-arts complex for the college, which includes state-of-the-art music and dance facilities, as well as enhanced performance spaces. Devereaux has already begun his job at Cornish.

Aug. 28: Pitchfork enjoys Truckasauras’ “Tea Parties”

Seattle club band Truckasauras was nervous about the Pitchfork review of its debut album, but the notoriously harsh online music publication gave “Tea Parties, Guns & Valor” a thumbs up.

The review said “the idea of this record as a mixtape actually strengthens it — too often, ‘heart’ or ‘human’ is lazily applied only to electronic records that feature vocals or acoustic guitars, but ‘Tea Parties,’ ever playful and ebullient just says, ‘here, hope you like it!’ Those that don’t might be trying too hard.”

“Tea Parties, Guns & Valor” has a videogame feel, crunk beats and a party passion. To have a listen, check out www.myspace.com/teapartiesgunsnvalor.

The quartet plays tonight at the Sunset Tavern. Tickets are $8. For more information, go to www.myspace.com/sunsettavern.

The band heads to Portland afterward, and returns Sept. 27 for Decibel In the Park at Volunteer Park in Seattle www.dbfestival.com).

Aug. 25: Rapper Dr. Dre’s oldest son found dead

Dr. Dre’s second oldest son, André Romelle Young, Jr., died at the age of 20 Saturday morning, MTV reported today.

He was found unresponsive in his bedroom of his Woodland Hills home that morning, after a night out with his friends. The cause of death is not yet determined.

A spokesperson for Dr. Dre released this comment:

“Dr. Dre is mourning the loss of his son André Young Jr. Please respect his family’s grief and privacy at this time.”

The super producer and rapper has four other children: Curtis, 26, Marcel, 17, and Truth, 11, and Truly, 7.

Fans have been leaving words of condolence on Dr. Dre’s site, www.myspace.com/drdre.

Aug. 25: Phantom Planet orbits Seattle

Phantom Planet will perform at El Corazón on Sept. 17. The Los Angeles alternative rock band just released critically praised record “Raise The Dead,” their first album with Fueled By Ramen Records.

The label was cofounded by Less Than Jake drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello and includes an imprint, Decaydance Records, with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.

Phantom Planet recently wrapped up touring with label mate Panic At the Disco. Now, they are touring with Paramore. For more information on Phantom Planet, go to www.phantomplanet.comand for more information on the concert, go to www.elcorazonseattle.com/cgi-bin/showinfo.cgi.Also coming our way is Rachael Yamagata. The lovely New York singer-songwriter is promoting her long awaited second album, “Elephants … Teeth Sinking Into Heart Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart.” She performs at Chop Suey on Oct. 4 and her album comes out Oct. 7. For more information on Yamagata, go to www.rachaelyamagata.com and for more information on her Seattle show, go to www.chopsuey.com.

Aug. 21: Seeking NW talent

Do you have what it takes to be in spotlight? If so, here are some chances:

• If you’re a digital artist looking for a spot to showcase your pieces, submit your still, movie and 3-D images to the Redmond Digital Arts Festival. Deadline for submissions is August 31.

The Redmond Arts Commission is presenting its first Digital Arts Festival Oct. 4 and 5, with workshops, meet-and-greets with artists and presentations. Registration is required, but admission to presentations and workshops is free.

It all happens at the Redmond Performing Arts Center, the DigiPen Institute of Technology, and the Old Redmond Schoolhouse. For more information, go to www.redmondartsfestival.com.

• And if you’re a burgeoning director, Nada Surf is looking for you. The New York band alternative rock band wants a video for their song “Weightless,” off their album “Lucky.”

All you have to do is check out their song on their site — www.myspace.com/nadasurf — produce the video and upload it to this link — www.youtube.com/group/nadasurfweightless — by Sept. 19. A panel of judges will pick the winner.

First place gets $3,000 from the band’s label, Barsuk Records, while second and third get copies of the upcoming Nada Surf vinyl box set, along with Nada-Surf T-shirts and CDs.

Aug. 19: Indie fave Fleet Foxes to play the Moore

Did you miss Fleet Foxes at the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival? The Capitol Hill Block Party, too? No worries — the hometown indie favorite is playing again, bringing their distinct brand of baroque harmonic pop to the Moore Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 19.

Tickets are really cheap — $15 at all Ticketmaster outlets (www.ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone to 206-628-0888) or service-charge free at the Moore box office (info, www.TheMoore.com). The day of the show, tickets cost $17. They go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.

Here’s more information about the Seattle band — www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes. And here’s a past interview with their frontman, Robin Pecknold — http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/musicnightlife/2008044930_fleetfoxes11.html

Aug. 18: Neil Young and Death Cab tour coming to Everett

Patrick MacDonald with some Neil Young news:

Neil Young announced a North American tour today that includes an Oct. 21 show at Comcast Arena in Everett. Seattle favorites Death Cab for Cutie will open

The eight-week tour begins Oct. 14 in St. Paul, Minn., and concludes Dec. 15 in New York, at Madison Square Garden. Young will be backed by a five-piece band: Ben Keith, Rick Rosas, Chad Cromwell, Anthony Crawford and Pegi Young. Wilco will share opening duties throughout the tour with Death Cab.

Tickets, at $75 for general admission on the floor and $45-$250 for reserved seating in the stands, go on sale Sept. 12.

For complete tour and ticket information, visit www.livenation.com or www.neilyoung.com.

Patrick MacDonald: pmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Aug. 18: Seattle’s Nine Lives Band reunites for Sept. 13 benefit concert

After 36 years apart, Nine Lives Band is back together again. Their reunion performance on Sept. 13 will benefit the Nisei Veterans Committee, at their newly remodeled facility at 1212 S. King St., Seattle. The Seattle soul-funk band will be playing songs from the early ’70s, including covers by War, Chicago, Santana, Tower of Power, Buddy Miles and Cold Blood.

Founding members — Arthur Kano, Leonard Berman and Ken Kubota — dreamed up a rock band in middle school. They were influenced by big band, jazz, funk, and soul music. And during their heyday between 1970 and 1972, they played at many Seattle high schools, the University of Washington, Central Washington University, Western Washington University and local dance taverns.

Local jazz pianist Deems Tsutakawa, whose younger brother bassist Marcus Tsutakawa is in the band, first suggested the idea of a reunion. He will also be playing a set of his jazz originals. For more information, go to www.deemsmusic.com.

The show starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13. Tickets are $20 at www.seattlenvc.org.

Aug. 12: Metallica to play KeyArena Dec. 1

Metallica has announced North American tour dates. The heavy-metal band is slated to play the KeyArena Dec. 1, with Lamb of God and the Sword.

The first leg of the North American tour kicks off October and goes through January. Keep checking their site — www.metallica.com/index.asp?item=601097 — for ticket sale dates and times.

Kings of Leon also announced their North American tour, coming to Seattle on Oct. 20 to the Paramount Theatre. The alternative band’s new album, “Only By The Night” will be released Sept. 23. And, every day leading up to that release date, a new home movie, documenting the making of their album, will be featured on kingsofleon.com and the band’s MySpace page — www.myspace.com/kingsofleon.

Aug. 8: “The Lion King” to return to Seattle

“The Lion King” is returning to the Paramount Theatre Feb. 11-March 15, 2009.

Tickets went on sale Aug. 7 for Broadway Across America season-ticket holders, by calling the season-ticket holder hotline at 888-451-4042. Groups of 20 or more can also buy tickets through the corporate and group sales department at 888-214-6856. Individual tickets go on sale in October.

“The Lion King” is now into its second decade on Broadway. It is winner of six Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

The musical is well known for its scores of masks and puppets, which bring a whole different life to the Disney animated film it was based on.

For more information, go to — www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.

Aug. 7: Kurt Cobain memorial concert Sept. 13

In other news today, there’s a concert memorializing Kurt Cobain set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13, at the historic 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam, Washington.

The lineup features Harvey Danger and Schoolyard Heroes. Opening acts include Black Top Demon and Gebular, both chosen by a battle of the bands contest back in June. Each band will cover at least one Nirvana song.

Tickets are $20 at www.kurtcobainmemorial.org. All proceeds go toward building an artistic youth center in Cobain’s name.

Aug. 6: Weezer bringing Red Album tour to the Key

Weezer will be touring North America in support of its self-titled album, known as “The Red Album” in the same fashion as Weezer’s other self-titled works (the so-called “Blue” and “Green” albums).

The eclectic alternative band comes to Seattle Oct. 11 to the KeyArena. Tickets — $25, $38, and $45 — go on sale Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m., at www.livenation.com, www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 206-628-0888.

Weezer’s first single off their Red Album, “Pork and Beans,” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Modern Tracks chart for weeks. And more than 10 million viewers checked out the song’s video on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=muP9eH2p2PI).

And Andrew Matson has some news today, too:

Past Lives on Suicide Squeeze

Ending a year of speculation, Seattle band Past Lives announced yesterday a new partnership with local label Suicide Squeeze Records. The debut EP “Strange Symmetry” comes out Nov. 4.

Download an MP3 of the title track for free by going to www.pastliveslife.com and clicking “media.”

Aug. 1: Alicia Keys, Jason Mraz set Seattle dates

Alicia Keys may have snubbed Seattle on her first lineup of concerts this summer, but thankfully, she didn’t forget about us. The R&B songstress is coming Sept. 20 to the WaMu Theater. Tickets cost $35 to $100 on ticketmaster.com.

Also coming from the arena of soul and R&B is crooner Brian McKnight. He’ll be performing at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on Oct. 4. Tickets cost $30 to $60 on ticketmaster.com.

And one more for your calendar: Jason Mraz plays the Paramount Theatre Nov. 9. Tickets are $27.50 to $37.50. They go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at www.LiveNation.com and all Ticketmaster outlets — or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

July 25: Town Hall announced fall lineup

Town Hall has announced a preliminary list of scheduled fall events, as well as a limited change in its ticket purchasing policy.

On the lineup are dozens of lectures, comedy shows, concerts and literary events. Highlights include: “FAQ: Mike Daisey & Reggie Watts Explain the Meaning of Life,” a Sept. 3 performance where funny former Seattleites Mike Daisey and Reggie Watts ponder existential questions with improvisation and storytelling. And a Sept. 22 reading by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy about fanaticism and why humans tolerate it, from his book “Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism.”

Adding to what has been a “show up and throw down” approach, some tickets for Town Hall-produced lecture events (Center for Civic Life, Seattle Science Lectures, the Future of Health, and occasional literary programs) will now be sold online and over the phone through Brown Paper Tickets. A “substantial inventory” of tickets will still be available at events the day they happen, however. From a prepared statement: “This means that even when the website reflects that no more tickets are available online, there will still be tickets for sale at the venue on the night of the event. And as always — sales at Town Hall will be cash or check only.”

There is an event almost every day at Town Hall, and sometimes there’s more than one. Reach Town Hall at 206-652-4255 or see a full calendar and ticket information at www.townhallseattle.org.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

July 24: Earshot Jazz Festival announced

Earshot Jazz has announced the dates of its fall festival: Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in venues all over the city. Over 50 performances are planned; the lineup will be posted as it’s booked at www.earshot.org.

A few of the highlights are already set:

• Saxophonist and flute player James Moody in a four-day residency.

• Pianist Cecil Taylor at Town Hall.

• Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane at the Triple Door.

Local jazz lights Wayne Horvitz, Julian Priester and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will make appearances, as will the Garfield and Roosevelt high school bands.

Tickets will go on sale in late August through Earshot and local venues. Call 206-547-9787 or go to www.earshot.org for details.

Lynn Jacobson, Seattle Times Arts & Life editor

July 18: So you think you can see “SYTYCD”?

The top 10 winners of the hit FOX reality talent show “So You Think You Can Dance” are hitting the road. They’ll share their moves with a live audience in our area during the tour, which comes to the Tacoma Dome Sept. 20.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. For more information on the tour, go to www.fox.com/dance/sytycd_tour.htm.

And to check out the epidsodes of the show, go to — www.fox.com/dance/episodes.htm.

Andrew Matson has this dispatch from the Opera:

This week the Seattle Opera announced its 2007-08 Artists of the Year, which traditionally go to one singer and a nonsinging member of the artistic staff.

This year’s singer is tenor Lawrence Brownlee, recognized for his performance as Arturo in “I Puritani” in May. Set designer Thomas Lynch, who did the sets for “The Flying Dutchman,” and “Iphigenia in Tauris” in 2007, was the other recipient.

The award winners — chosen by the board of trustees, some Seattle Opera donors, the Opera staff and some members of the local press — were announced Tuesday at the annual meeting, where the Opera also honored Gov. Christine Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle City Council with a new Chairman’s Award for exceptional support.

You can hear Brownlee in this season’s “I Puritani,” posted by a fan on YouTube — http://youtube.com/watch?v=ap2tlAoMyto.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

July 15: Got $425,000? I’ve got a nightclub on Capitol Hill

Clubs seem to come and go these days.

After the much lauded opening of King Cobra nightclub end of February, the venue is up for sale. An e-mail from the co-owner Jamie Garza cited lots of reasons: personal finance issues, management mistakes, lack of experience and lack of marketing.

The e-mail goes on to state that the “current owners, and some citizens of Seattle, would like to sell King Cobra with its current format, including a great calendar of upcoming events, and an all-star cast of employees.”

Garza was a promoter from the all-ages music scene, and the other owner, Che Sabado, owned the punk rock bar Kincora Pub. Kincora Pub was located in Capitol Hill and closed due to condominium construction.

Before King Cobra, the club was named Sugar. It closed after a shooting that left three wounded. Former Seattle Times nightlife reporter Tom Scanlon reported that the venue went through three different clubs in five years. And, the owners of King Cobra had hoped to finally keep the place steady. Many had hoped the club would fill the hole left by the closing of Crocodile Cafe.

The 6,000-square-foot space at 916 E. Pike St., has a capacity of 475. Live music plays three to four days a week, with the rest of the week available for interactive activities, like karaoke. There is a fully equipped kitchen. The venue is also approved for all-ages concerts.

The asking price? $425,000. Stay tuned for more.

July 11: It’s a singing, yodeling, starring Broadway role for Federal Way actress

A local to root for on Broadway:

Yodeling her way across the New York stage is Federal Way native Kelly Sullivan. She plays female lead Inga in “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” on Broadway, replacing role originator Sutton Foster. Foster, who appeared in Seattle when “Young Frank” was on its Broadway tryout last year, will be back in Seattle as Fiona, in the upcoming world premiere of “Shrek” at The 5th Avenue Theatre, playing Aug. 14 to Sept. 21 (www.shrekthemusical.com).

Sullivan grew up in Federal Way and Puyallup, and credits her choir teacher for kicking off her career.

“If not for him, I don’t know if be there today, if not for his encouragement,” Sullivan said about her teacher, Pat Michel, who retired from Puyallup’s Roger High School this year.

Michel encouraged Sullivan to practice and take voice lessons, predicting that she would make it to Broadway someday. With his motivation, as a junior in high school, Sullivan won the state contest for best soprano.

“That was a real big greenlight for me,” said Sullivan

One of the contest judges encouraged Sullivan to pursue her singing at Arizona State University, where she earned a full scholarship and started musical-theater studies.

And soon after graduating, she landed her first Broadway gig, “Bells Are Ringing.”

“It was really Puyallup that started it all — their love and passion for the arts,” said Sullivan, 30. “I’ll never forget that and forget where I’m from.”

For more on Sullivan, go to — www.kelly-sullivan.com. And there’s more on “Young Frankenstein” here — www.youngfrankensteinthemusical.com.

July 3: Ticket alert: Edmonds Center for the Arts

Hankering for Hawaiian music? It’s on the schedule — along with everything from kiddie rock to Native American flute — of the second season of the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Former Men at Work frontman Colin Hay will kick off the season on Aug. 22. The lineup also includes:

• High energy children’s music with Ralph’s World on Sept. 27

• Día de los Muertos with Quetzal on Oct. 30

• Seattle kiddie rock band Recess Monkey on Nov. 1

• The Seattle International Comedy Competition on Nov. 18

• Native American flutist Mary Youngblood with local Grammy award winner Eric Tingstad on January 16

• A slack key and hula show with Keola and Moana Beamer on April 9.

• Indigo Girls on May 8 and 9.

For show information and tickets, go to www.ec4arts.org. Full season subscriptions are available by calling 425-275-9595. And, Indigo Girls tickets go on-sale Dec. 1.

July 1: D List? What D List?

This just in — Kathy Griffin has added a third show at the Paramount Theatre on Nov. 22. With such demand, she’s definitely lifted off the D-list.

Tickets are $45.50 to $75.50 and on sale at www.LiveNation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

June 30: The Saturday Knights “Mingle” at a hot, sweaty Nectar

Music writer Andrew Matson reporting:

Local hip-hop heroes The Saturday Knights sold out Nectar last Friday night. The Fremont venue was packed downstairs, upstairs, and outside, and even though the club’s street-facing garage door wall was rolled up, things were sweaty. Dozens of fans who didn’t get tickets stayed and listened outside, communicating with luckier fans through the bars that fence Nectar’s front patio.

TSK played songs from “Mingle,” the group’s first full-length album out now on local label Light In The Attic Records. The rappers, Barfly and Tilson, ended with an improvised rhyme session after a high energy set featuring horn players from opening act and purveyors of “Staten Island Soul” the Budos Band.

June 24: Arista says bye-bye Blake Lewis

Bad news for our pal Blake Lewis … unless you think — as Blake seems to — that getting dropped from your label is a good thing.

Blogs picked up the news late Sunday and on Monday the Web site Idolator.com reported that Arista had dropped the Seattle singer-beatboxer. Blake claims he never really wanted to be signed to a major label anyway, and that it was the label meddling that made his one release (last year’s “Audio Day Dream”) so terrible. (Hear a sample at his MySpace — www.myspace.com/blakelewis; read the full Idolator entry here — http://idolator.com/396832/arista-drops-idol-runner+up-blake-lewis-after-less-than-a-year).

Well, sounds like the whimsical, uncategorizable guy is getting what he wants. Good luck, Blake.

And bad news of a very different sort for Boy George. The ’80s icon’s U.S. tour was canceled Tuesday when it was announced that his visa was denied. According to his publicists, this stems from George’s arrest last spring (something involving his male companion, some photos, and “wrongful imprisonment”). Said the statement, “This is… because he is facing a trial in November in London… George has not been convicted of anything in London and there is a presumption in the Western World of innocence until proven guilty… .”

Boy George was scheduled to appear at the Showbox at the Market on July 20.

June 19: Funky new music for funky old Seattle weather

Here’s some offbeat music for the funky weather:

• I love mashups because nothing is better than two funky styles mixed into one. And this group amplifies mashups to a new level, mixing cumbia — a sound fusing old and new music of Colombia — with hip-hop, dancehall, reggaeton and pop.

Here’s are the DJs in this revolving group. You’ll want to bookmark their sites, because their music is going to blow your mind.

Resident DJ Villa Diamante blends Argentine and Latin American music with Northern Hemisphere hip-hop, grime, electro and pop — www.myspace.com/villadiamante.

Newer on the scene, Chancha Vía Circuíto has been featured on mixtapes by DIPLO, M.I.A.’s producer — www.myspace.com/chanchaviacircuito.

And, Fauna mixes Latin elements with electronic beats and live hip-hop/ragga vocals — www.myspace.com/faunapower.

Finally, co -owner of record label Bersa Discos, ORO11 blends cumbia with dancehall and Baltimore club beats. And being from the Bay, he mixes hyphy (hyper hip-hop) goodness with some Latin American flavors. You have to give it a listen at — www.myspace.com/oro11.

The group performs July 22 at the Nectar Lounge. Tickets are $10 on ticketweb.

… Check out some fun punk about stealing music by The Dirty Hearts. Here’s their video “Record Store” — www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zo9JWpS5A0.

Shot at Friends of Sounds Records in Austin, Texas, the band used its own gear and posters for the set. And for the sake of the video, the Austin punk band even destroyed some vinyl in the store. Their album “Pigs” comes out July 22. Check out the rest of their music at www.myspace.com/thedirtyhearts.

June 12: Pearl Jam’s “bootleg” recordings for sale

Now, you don’t have to secretly record the Pearl Jam show on your own — Pearl Jam will provide their “bootlegs” for you.

At the end of their live shows, the band will be selling high-quality digital downloads and burn-to-order CDs of the entire show through their fan club, Ten Club, at www.pearljam.com. There will also be mobile bootlegs of three live tracks per show on V CAST Music phones and at www.pearljamconcerts.com. These will be available as ringtones too.

Digital bootlegs will cost $9.99 (MP3) and $14.99 (FLAC) per show. There will also be hard copies available using recycled material, for $16.99 per show on www.pearljam.com.

All of the bootlegs recordings will be professionally mixed in real time. Launched on the 2000 world tour, the bootleg program has since sold 3.5 million bootlegs.

Unfortunately Seattle fans may only hear the concerts by bootleg — the grunge band has not announced local dates. Here’s a link to their tour — www.pearljam.com/tour

June 4: Raconteurs to play WaMu Theater

If you missed their sold-out show at Neumo’s the last time they came around, the Raconteurs are returning to Seattle — and this time to a much bigger venue. Jack White’s “other band” will play the WaMu Theater on Sept. 19. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. June 6, for $35, at www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 206-628-0888.

The Raconteurs are a collaboration between White, the lead singer of the White Stripes, and his old friend, Nashville-based songwriter Brendan Benson. Catch the video of their latest hit, “Salute Your Solution,” — www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lL1CW140FQ.

And not to be outdone by all the big albums coming out this week — Seattle’s Fleet Foxes debuted their self-titled full length album on Sub Pop Records. Download their song “White Winter Hymnal” on www.subpop.com/assets/audio/4264.mp3. And listen to the rest of their music here — www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes.

Keep an eye out on this local folk-pop band. They were met with adoration at Sasquatch! when they played twice (subbing in for the National when that band was delayed), and they are quickly growing in popularity. You can check them out at Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival on July 12 at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Tickets are still available on ticketmaster.com.

In other album news, Olympia singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson is releasing a collection of children’s songs with her friends and their children, called “ALPHABUTT,” out Sept. 9. Here’s a video of the title track — www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfbqrNPJXlQ.

Dawson was responsible for the very popular and very quirky soundtrack behind the indie hit “Juno.” She plays at the Capitol Hill Block Party July 25. For more on the Block Party, head here — www.myspace.com/capitolhillblockparty.

Alternative rap-rock band N.E.R.D. is also working on an album set to come out June 10 and titled “Seeing Sounds.” You can see their very cool and very raw video, “Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In Line For The Bathroom),” where Lindsay Lohan and Kanye West makes cameos — www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA1HB_yJii4. After watching it, you won’t be able to force that song out of your head.

And, garage punk band Yeah Yeah Yeahs are working on album Number 3. For inspiration — according to their blog — the band has been hopscotching from “a barn in the Northeast to a ranch in the Southwest on their journey for the next sound.” Check out their musings here — http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=2096735&blogID=40196599.

May 20: The reviews are in: Death Cab for Cutie’s “Narrow Stairs”

Sasquatch favorite and beloved local band Death Cab For Cutie has been making headlines with their latest album, “Narrow Stairs.” The reviews have gone from the very positive — Rolling Stone Magazine’s 4-star critique of “a dark, strangely compelling record” — to the decidedly mixed — to the Village Voice proclaiming that it’s simply a “mediocre album.” But, most of the reviews agree that it’s an emotional record that aims to strike out at your heart.

Here’s a listing of reviews. Let me know your thoughts on “Narrow Stairs,” too.

Rolling Stone Magazine

www.rollingstone.com/artists/deathcabforcutie/albums/album/20524296/review/20532998/narrow_stairs

Spin Magazine

www.spin.com/reviews/death-cab-cutie-narrow-stairs-atlantic

MTV

www.mtv.com/news/articles/1582775/20080304/death_cab_for_cutie.jhtml

The Associated Press

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080512/ap_en_re/music_review_death_cab_for_cutie

Pitchfork

www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/50564-narrow-stairs

IGN

http://music.ign.com/articles/875/875201p1.html

And here’s a site — if you’re too lazy to click through the above links — that aggregates all the reviews and gives them each a rating. Averaging the scores, the album gets a C+.

www.metacritic.com/music/artists/deathcabforcutie/narrowstairs?part=rssAnd one more thing before we leave Death Cab for the day: the Bellingham band played “No Sunlight,” off the new album, in the back of a London cab. Check it out: www.blackcabsessions.com/sessions.php#. The ride must have been smooth, because the recording session is pretty sweet.

Fergie, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock do the Puyallup

The upcoming Puyallup Fair will feature The Black Crowes, Kid Rock, Fergie and one of America’s “Idols,” Carrie Underwood.

Hard rockers The Black Crowes perform Sept. 8. Tickets are $25-$55. The band just released its first studio recording in seven years this past March, named “Warpaint.” All the songs, except for one, are written by the two original brothers in the band — Chris and Rich Robinson. To listen, go to www.blackcrowes.com.

Rap rocker Kid Rock comes Sept. 10. Tickets cost $30 to $60. His latest album “Rock N Roll Jesus,” came out October of 2007. For more and to watch his videos, go to www.kidrock.com/media.php.

Fergie, a Bumbershoot headliner last year, will join the Puyallup lineup on Sept. 16. Tickets are $29 to $79. Check out her latest at fergie.blackeyedpeas.com.

Underwood — 2005’s “American Idol” winner — will follow on Sept. 19. Tickets are $50-$75.

Other concerts to take note of are Christian pop group Casting Crowns coming Sept. 9, for $17.50 to $37.50; vocal quartet Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons on Sept. 17 for $25 to $75.

Tickets include reserved seating and gate admission to the fair. They are available for sale 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, order by phone at 206-628-0888 or by logging onto www.ticketmaster.com. For more on the Puyallup Fair, go to www.thefair.com.Finally, if you’ll like to take up the mic instead, MySpace launched its karaoke site today. Upload your version of your favorite star’s song, or your own, at ksolo.myspace.com. The most popular recordings are categorized at the top and include a Britney spoof, “Oops I Farted Again.”

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or mliu@seattletimes.com